Saturday 26 January 2019

Chapstick...And also some interchanged boxcars too.

I've been having trouble with my airbrush.  Simply put, it was just not spraying properly, if at all. I cleaned it and reassembled it over and over again, and it didn't make any difference whatsoever. I've had it for a few years, but something has gone wrong and I couldn't figure it out.

It's an Iwata bottom feeding type airbrush, meaning that it draws paint up from a bottle that hangs below the airbrush, by means of a vacuum that's created by the air rushing out the spray nozzle. That same air atomizes the paint into a fine mist, and for my purposes, the finer the spray, the better.

I actually think I made a mistake buying that type of airbrush. That's not to say anything's wrong with Iwata, but the bottom feed type isn't what I should have gotten. I think should have bought a gravity feeding type, with the paint cup, or reservoir on the top of the machine, but I didn't know that at the time.

Exasperated with the poor spray, I finally went on the manufacturers' (Iwata) website, and wrote them a note outlining the problem and my frustration. And about 4 hours later, they got back to me by email with a suggestion, which at first I thought was a little bit off the wall. But then I thought maybe there actually was some logic to it.

Their suggestion: Chapstick. Yes, the lip balm stuff.

They figured that the nozzle wasn't seated tightly enough into the outlet end of the airbrush. They said that if I were to apply some Chapstick - or some other soft wax - to the nozzle where it fits into the airbrush, and also onto the threads of the end cap, it would improve that seal and increase the air pressure which would improve the suction of the paint out of the bottle.  So, off to the store I went.

I applied the Chapstick to the right hand end of the nozzle (pictured in front of the Chapstick) which then fits into the large opening in the end of the airbrush.  I also gave the threads around the end of the airbrush a coating of Chapstick too.  And guess actually worked. Quite well in fact. The paint sprays just fine now.  As it should. Problem solved.
Iwata also sent along a link to a very thorough video of how to go about cleaning an airbrush.  Here it is:

My friend Luc Sabourin, CEO of the HO scale BRAR Railroad, visited this week and brought along a few freight cars from his collection to interchange with the JSSX.

Here is my LTEX leaser SD40 pulling those four boxcars onto South Industrial Ave., where they'll soon be spotted at the local warehouse. Photos of the individual boxcars follow.  Thanks for bringing them over Luc. If only I could get my painting and weathering up to the level of art of these cars...

Luc's WRWK 7170 and RBOX 31458 are examples of the very fine custom painting and weathering of John Bezuyen.

These next two boxcars are the remarkable custom work of Steve Wilder. The waffles on KCS 21022 were made and individually applied by Steve.  And just spend an extra moment to take in the roof on CSXT.


  1. Chapstick... huh. Who'da thunk? And I've been cleaning airbrushes for ages, yet I learned a few things from that video. Thanks for passing that along.

  2. You're quite welcome. I thought the video was very thorough, I'm really pleased that you found it helpful.